Are we seeking familiarity and not happiness?

I read an article the other day that a friend sent me. It was about relationships and why we choose the people we do. Fairly standard piece but out of the 7 factors one blew my mind a little bit. That one being, we aren’t used to being happy. We believe that we seek happiness but what in fact we seek is familiarity.

The article goes on to say many of our lessons we learn are learnt in childhood and aren’t quite as straightforward as we think. We go on to reject perfectly good candidates because they are too well balanced (too reliable, too understanding) because these things feel alien to us and almost oppressive. We choose people not because they please us but because they frustrate us in familiar ways.

What an incredibly powerful point! I wonder how many people I have in my life, not because they bring me happiness necessarily but because they are people who only challenge me in a way I know how to deal with and alternatively how many people do I have that challenge me in ways I don’t know how to deal with.  Maybe I should start a list. My thinking is over the years I’ve probably got a variety of both types.

Hence through our searches we pick people who we are comfortable with, who don’t challenge our beliefs, who don’t treat us in ways we find unusual and maybe we are poorer people for this. I’d think the people who treat us differently would require us to put in some extra effort, to understand and adapt to and maybe its just a comment on the laziness of society as such. It is however quite incredible to think that there are people who don’t choose people because they are too giving, too generous because it is such an alien concept to them and they don’t really know or understand how to deal with this.

One to ponder I reckon.

IJS 10/07/2014

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